I recently found myself in the position to prevent over 35lb. of overripe bananas from being thrown in the garbage at a local grocery store. The food waste crisis is no stranger to me and often it’s a fight we lose with corporations who would rather throw goods away than donate them to people who need them.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand it can be difficult to relocate produce that isn’t up to standard to sell because of the perishable qualities it has. Donating perishables to a food bank is often looked down on as it is difficult to move them out to people before going bad. Many people who rely on food banks might not have a refrigerator to store fresh produce or do not have all the tools necessary to prepare the veggies.
While many stores throw away hundreds of pounds of produce a day, the store I got this produce from allowed me to lessen the load. There was over 50lb that had to be thrown away but I managed to save 35lb; 70 bananas in total. Now I’ve got enough bananas for a whole summer worth of smoothies, but what will I do with them?!
I decided to do what anyone would do with too many overripe bananas and made some banana bread while freezing the majority of the other bananas. I’ve got plenty of smoothie recipes up my sleeve for you in the future, but I’m still munching on this bread and it’s too good not to share.
- 3 mashed bananas (~ 1 1/2 cup)
- 2 whole bananas, just ripe
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts & pecans work great!)
Why plant milk?
Plant milk has a higher water content than whole milk and during the baking process, it evaporates faster. This allows the baked good to rise and set quicker, while steam cooking it to an extent that keeps it moist.
Bonus points if you are like me and have a sensitive stomach! I have been lactose intolerant since I was very young and ignored my body’s reaction to it for far too long. I now drink almond milk and use it for my coffee, cereals, and even when I bake. I’m unsure if dairy in baked goods can affect my stomach the way raw cow’s milk does, but it fits a 1:1 substitute ratio and allows me to indulge in things I once had to stop enjoying, so I consider it worthwhile.
- 1. Start by preheating the oven to 350F. This batter comes together quickly, so you’ll probably be done the prep before the oven is heated.
- Mash and measure the bananas. Add to a bowl and stir in oil, almond milk, lemon juice, and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add a pinch of salt to improve the sweet flavors.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and make sure there are no lumps before adding nuts if preferred.
- Pour into a greased bread pan with parchment.
- Slice a ripe banana for each loaf and place it on top. It will caramelize while baking.
- Bake for about an hour, checking around the 50-minute mark to see if a fork comes out clean when pierced.
Before the loaf cools, you can also brush with maple syrup, though I find the loaf to be sweet enough on its own. You can also sprinkle rolled oats over the loaf before baking for more texture, but this time I kept it simple.